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Merry Christmas

It is Christmas Day and I am thankful for both parents and scouts who have stood by me as the new Cubmaster for pack 499 this year. I won’t lie, it probably hasn’t been the smoothest transition ever and the “adulting” part of Cubs Scouts really isn’t fun. There’s tons of paperwork and multiple systems which have to be used to keep track of our scouts. There are some times when I’m dealing with all the adult stuff of scouts that it just doesn’t seem worth the all the trouble.

But then…. I stop the adulting part and get to spend some time with a few scouts learning or doing something new. Everything becomes crystal clear why I put up with the annoying adulting parts of scouting. I’ve seen scouts come out of their shyness and become the most eager kids to learn. I’m pretty sure that we’ve taken kids out camping who have never seen the stars so bright because the lights of Fort Worth drown out our view. I’ve had parents thank me for making sure their kids get to participate in our pack and the scouting program. I spend a whole weekend cooking on a campout just to amaze scouts and parents with the quality of food that can be cooked on a campout. Perhaps my favorite movement of scouting is when I yell SMORES during a campout. Scouts come running and nothing but joy describes that moment.

I as count my gifts this Christmas, being Cubmaster is one of my favorite gifts. I appreciate the other adults that have struggled through the boring “adulting” of scouting with me. I am a truly blessed man because of the volunteers stepping up and helping run this program. My you and your families have an amazing Christmas this year.

— Jody

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Mentors and Coaches Needed!

Are you a leader, a teacher, a coach who is willing to mentor our community’s kids after work once a week to make a difference in their lives and in the community?

Cub Scout Pack 499 in South Fort Worth has a huge membership this year with kids and parents from all the surrounding schools. Our pack is short on Den Leaders who can lead simple lessons about life skills, God, and Country. Our program has a proven tradition of shaping the values of children who participate through fun, games, activities, friendship, and adventure. You could play a huge role in this, that would have a lasting impact on the community and the lives of these kids. You’ll be given the opportunity to move up with your scouts each year (if preferred) allowing you to build a lasting connection and impact.

The time commitment is only about an hour a week during the school year with opportunities to get further involved as desired. You would lead a lesson every other week, alternating with another volunteer leader. Den Leaders are all volunteers, coming from diverse backgrounds and career fields. No experience is required, we have a team that can get you up to speed real fast. You don’t need a child in scouts to participate, just a love of kids and adventure.

Scouts proudly welcomed girls into their programs this year and it’s been a tremendous experience. Women have always been welcome as Den Leaders, but we need them now more than ever to help balance our leadership team. We celebrate our ethnic and gender diversity and would love to add you to our ranks!

If any of this resonates with you, if you worry about the direction our schools and youth are headed in, and you want to have fun while developing leadership and values in our community, shoot us a note below and we’ll set up a short call to talk more!

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Cub Scout Camping Gear Crash Course

The truth is that as Cub Scouts, we “trunk camp”.  We have the luxury of pulling our vehicle up close to the campsite, unload and set up.  The good news is that you can camp in luxury AND for the time being you don’t have to invest in the expensive backpacking items.  If you stick with these recommendations, you should have a comfortable and fun camping experience!

If you’re new to scouting, DON’T PANIC! (obligatory reference to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) If you have little to none of this stuff, don’t worry, one of the more experienced campers will have some to share.

WATER

This item went first!  When we camp it may be a hike to get water or there may be no water available.  On top of personal water bottles, I highly recommend bringing 3-5 gallons for each family.

SNACKS

The pack provides meals, but if you or your scout get hungry in between, you need to bring snacks.

TENTS

Tents are sized by the person.  Don’t be fooled, that number is if you are sleeping shoulder to shoulder.  A good rule of thumb is to take the number of people the tent is sized for and divide by 2.  i.e, a 4 man tent is comfortable with 2 people.

When you buy your tent, set it up once at home to make sure you know how.  I recommend doing this inside your house.  Then semi put it up and take to the yard.  Buy some silicone (Scotchguard) and give the tent and rainfly a good once over.  Let it dry, then hit then seems hard and heavy with the silicone spray.

You also need a ground cloth for your tent.

SLEEPING BAGS AND MATS

If you buy them online, make sure the temperating is US rating, not European.  European rating is that you will survive at that temperature.  US rating is that you will be comfortable at that temperature.

The make liners for sleeping bags that add a bit extra warmth but a sheet folded and sewn will do the same.

We’ve had people bring full-blown air mattresses to campouts and that’s fine since we “trunk camp”.  This is totally a comfort preference but you do need something between you and the ground.  There is usually not electricity so if you require a pump for the air matress, make sure you can power the pump.

Cots work too, just make sure it won’t poke a hole through your tent.  Also, make sure to bring a pillow!

CLOTHES

Always best to plan on rain and plan on being colder than you expected.  Polyester and wool are your new best friend.  Cotton (especially jeans) are not great when wet.  Bring enough clothes plus one extra set for the weekend.

BACKPACK

Again, we trunk camp.  If you’re not ready to invest in a backpack, then don’t.  Just use a duffle bag that is easy to carry.

RAIN GEAR

I just bought a very nice rain suit from Academy for $20.  Stayed nice and dry. Just make sure that you at least have a poncho for you and your scouts.

DAY BAG (FOR HIKES) – ADULT

Just like every outing with your kids, much of what you pack is not for you but instead for your kids.

  • Rain gear
  • Dry shirt & socks
  • Insect Repellent
  • Foot Powder
  • flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Water
  • Fire Starter
  • Whistle
  • Notepad / Pen
  • Sunblock
  • compass/map (if needed or available)
  • First aid kit (big one)
  • Trail mix or protein bars
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Chapstick
  • Advil/Tylenol (for you or your children ONLY)
  • spoon/fork
  • g2 packages (sports drink mix with low sugar)
  • Deck of cards/dice
  • Chemical light
  • Boy Scout Field Manual
  • Toilet Paper
  • Small bag for trash

DAY PACK (FOR HIKING) – SCOUTS

  • Rain gear
  • Whistle
  • Sunblock
  • Flashlight
  • Water
  • Trail Food
  • First Aid Kit (smaller)
  • Compass

ENTERTAINMENT

Leave the electronics in your car, but feel free to bring a ball or cards.

KNIVES

A cub scout MUST be at least in a Bear den AND earned the whittling chip to carry a knife.  A swiss army knife is the recommended type of knife for a cub scout.  NO sheath knives.

CHAIRS

You’ll want a camp chair to sit around the fire.  These start at $5 and can go up to $100+.  The choice is yours on a chair, just bring one!

OTHER ITEMS

  • Flash Light
  • Toilet Paper
  • small mess kit (deep plate and spoon/fork combo will do)
  • Water jugs or bottles
  • Coffee mug (adults)
  • Ski mask to sleep in you you’re cold natured
  • Good, broken in CLOSED TOE shoes
  • Hammock (optional)
  • Pillow
  • Deorderant
  • Toothpaste / Toothbrush
  • Gloves
  • Hat with brim
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Jacket
  • Fishing pole, bait, tackle box (optional)

 

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Uniform Tips and Tricks

For those of you new to cub scouts or if you never received this information from a seasoned parent before… I want to share some tips on buying a Cub Scout Uniform for your scout(s).

Get the right color uniform

4th and 5th Graders can wear the Beige or the Blue uniform.  If you’re buying your 4th or 5th grader their first uniform, get the beige one as they can use it for Boy Scouts starting in 6th grade.  If your scout can get the beige uniform, I HIGHLY recommend the blended material shirt over the 100% cotton shirt.  We live in Texas, this shirt is cooler, and it resists stains!

1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders must buy the blue uniform which only comes in 100% cotton.

Go Big

Kids grow so fast and let’s be honest, uniforms are not cheap.  I buy a full size bigger than what my scouts really need.  To date, this has given me 2 years of use out of each uniform.

Patches

If you are not a seamstress, good news the scout shop will professionally sew on patches for a nominal fee

Ask the experts

The staff at the scout shop knows exactly what patches your scout needs.  You don’t have to figure this all out by yourself.

Neckerchiefs and Slides

Not really a buying tip, but instead a wearing tip.  Tie a knot under the slide to keep the slide from constantly falling off.

Pants and Shorts

Cub Scout Pack 499 doesn’t require specific pants.  If you want to buy the blue pants/shorts, go for it, but jeans work too.

Where to buy

The closest Scout Shop is at 5344 Trail Lake Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76133.  This is in the shopping center with Harbor Freight, but the shop is right next to Ming Wok.  You also have the option to purchase online at https://www.scoutshop.org/

 

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Alright all you David Bowie fans, it’s time to “turn and face the strange”!

First things first, we are kicking off a new year with a new Cubmaster, me – Mr. Jody.  Mr. Phillip has been an AMAZING leader for my kids’ entire scouting career, but next year his boy bridges over to Boy Scouts.  The wise Mr. Phillip has found his successor and has been gracious to train me for two full years.  For the 2018-2019 year, Phillip is the Assistant Scoutmaster for Pack 499 and he will give me gentle nudges when I need them to keep things running right.  Next time you see Mr. Phillip, please thank him for all his hard work and tell him what a great job he has done for Pack 499.

What else is new you ask?  Well, Cub Scouts is for boys AND girls now!  Here is the official news release on the historic decision and you can also get some quick information from our scout me in page.  But I want to talk about why I personally endorsed Pack 499 to be a Boys and Girls Cub Scout Pack.  For 2 1/2 years, I told my daughter that she could not come to Cub Scouts because it was just for the boys.  She was very sad and upset, but unfortunately, I was good with this arrangement.  When BSA announced including girls in Cub Scouts, I had to think through my stance on the matter.  I am an eagle scout and I have very fond memories of scouting as a kid, but it was only for boys.  My experience with scouts has landed me jobs and overrode college admittance requirements simply because I earned the rank of eagle scout.  I finally had an ah-ha moment when a question came to me.   Why exactly do I not want my daughter to learn leadership and problem solving through outdoor skills and games?  For me, there was no answer to that question.  I want my daughter to learn these skills while having fun!  My daughter made me “get it” and made me push for Pack 499 to be involved in scout me in.

This video is a great reminder that kids can teach adults too!

–Jody